Tuesday, November 11, 2008
"We're going to bury you..."
It's a sad thing that people have singled out the "Mormon" Church as a scapegoat for the passing of Proposition 8, amending the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act, overriding a state Supreme Court ruling. The backlash against the passing of this proposition has been responsible for a lot of hateful targeting of the LDS Church for exercising its right to speak up for what it considers to be a moral issue in a free election. Let me say, up front, that I didn't agree with the Church's meddling in California politics. While I think concerned folks from Utah had no business contributing to a political campaign in another state, I believe the Church had every right to advise its members in that state concerning what they believe to be a critical issue concerning the ultimate nature of the traditional family.
In fact, we were not alone. Months before the first ads ran on Prop. 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to Mormons (having been bishop of SLC for eleven years, he knows Mormons well) and asked for their help on Prop. 8--seeking the support of many other denominations as well to form "the core" of this volunteer operation. The money was grass-roots donated by concerned people of many conservative faiths. The Mormon Church did not contribute money to this fund. Nobody was coerced. Our young missionaries would never break into anyone's home and scatter decency to the wind as shown in that reprehensible TV ad.
It all seems a bit ridiculous to me, a simple matter of semantics. If the word "marriage" is the problem, then why not continue to call gay alliances "civil unions," or "gay inseparabilities," or whatever else they choose. Equality in every way except their use of the word. I think everyone agrees that giving everyone the same legal rights to make decisions for incapacitated loved ones, the same insurance coverage, and the same respect is the only decent way to go--which, by the way, the Mormon Church advocates, as evidenced by specifically pointed statements published in a Church News release concerning rights of hospitalization/medical care, fair housing, employment, probate/wrongful death rights and domestic partnership rights for gay couples, who have every right to live and love together in a state of gay bliss. Just not in marriage. The M-word.
LDS Temples across California (and in Utah) have been damaged, chapels have been vandalized. Facebook groups have formed telling people to boycott Utah in general (tourism, ski resorts, the Sundance Film Festival, etc.). Websites have formed calling for an end to the Church's tax-exempt status, saying things like: "We're going to bury you (shades of Nikita Kruschev!)," and "Destroy Utah--it is a Hate State," calling us a "religion of Bigots and Hate-Mongers!" We seem to have become a punching bag, and people feel free to shout profanities at us, spit on our cars, block access roads to our temples, shoot out the windows and glass doors of our chapels, and wield their cans of spray paint like weapons. This morning's news reports 2 more chapels in my neighborhood were vandalized overnight and two historic buildings were burned.
What I want to know is this: where are the protesters when other churches exercise their right to decry what they consider to be moral issues? Where are those others who also helped Yes on 8 and should be standing by us? Is Abortion a fair issue? How about pornography? Mormons don't like those things very much, either. Nor do I. Just call me old-fashioned. But please don't call me moron, or scum.
Well. Okay. I feel better now. Sort of. Thanks for letting me vent.
[UPDATE. Wednesday, Nov. 12th] The protests in California and Utah have spread to the East Coast. New Yorkers are now going at it, and protests against Mormons are planned in every state this Saturday: more harrassments and assaults, more horn-honking and spitting, more obscene gestures, hate-mail, and vandalism....
UPDATING THE UPDATE- Friday-Nov 14, 2008, Deseret News: "Envelopes containing a suspicious white powder were mailed (from California) to two LDS Temples and a Catholic fraternity (Knights of Columbus), prompting a hazardous materials response and a federal investigation into who is behind it...." The FBI will probably discover it is cornstarch, but it might have been anthrax.
UPDATING THE UPDATED UPDATE! My good friend Orlan (see comments) suggests you take a look at this article for a well-balanced view of this issue.
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Also, on this Veteran's Day, when I saw on GMA a tearful mother in a cemetery embracing her son's tombstone, I cried with her, and remembered why I am glad to be movin' on from Bush to Obama....
Photo Credit: Beetle Blogger